I’ve been reflecting on the lengths to which some folks go to help others — not because they get paid for it, or even because they get a big “thank you,” but because they take Jesus’ command to love their neighbors seriously.
I continue to be grateful for the unselfish work of Baptist Men, whose disaster relief and recovery work remains a sterling example of what it means to put faith into action. I’ve had the opportunity to watch (and occasionally help) some of the most competent people I’ve ever met provide food, showers and laundry services in the wake of terrorist attacks and natural disasters from Manhattan to Gulfport and places in between. They’ve cleaned wells, removed debris and rebuilt homes from Choluteca to Galveston, from Seven Springs to Sri Lanka.
The current focus of activity is in Kentucky and northern Arkansas, an area hard hit by a massive ice storm Jan. 27. Coordinated nationally by the Red Cross and the North American Mission Board, chainsaw teams and feeding units from Baptist Men organizations across the south were mobilized quickly and volunteers streamed in to work long days for no pay other than the intrinsic rewards that come with self-giving.
And, they’re still there. I’m most familiar with volunteers from North Carolina Baptist Men, who have been in Kentucky for weeks. According to disaster relief coordinator Gaylon Moss, as of Feb. 14, a total of 85 volunteers from N.C. had assisted 177 families in Stanford, and were also beginning new efforts in Livingston County, northeast of Paducah.
Like the Energizer Bunny, the men (and women) who serve through Baptist Men keep going and going. As long as we live on this earth, I suppose, there will be natural disasters. My prayer is that there will always be Baptist Men, as well.